Understanding Liquid Bulk, Breakbulk, and Dry Bulk shipping

You probably also wondered how products like pens, phones, eyeglasses, and other plastic products all started. Every single such product started as either powder forms or resin pellets and those were transported via dry bulk transportation.  If there is one aspect of shipping that needs proper understanding, Liquid bulk, breakbulk, and dry bulk shipping are 3 particular ones.

The topic of dry bulk transport is vast and the methodologies of dry bulk transportation (DBT) are numerous, with each type of dry bulk playing a specific role in the market. 

For instance, iron ore is commonly found in stacks up to around 10ft tall, and natural sands can go up to 100’ tall, which makes them essentially irreversible within the overall supply chain. 

Because of this incompatibility, it becomes imperative for any dry bulk shipping company to understand exactly how its carrying-cargo operates in relation to the rest of the industry.

The market for dry bulk carriers is expected to remain robust and sustained by increasing demand for energy, raw materials and food stuff.

There continues to be a growth in the use of dry bulk vessels throughout the world. 

More than 450 dedicated bulk carriers are operated by more than 150 operators registered in more than 55 flag states working within maritime laws and regulations which differ from one country to another. 

Each country has its own maritime regulatory bodies, which issue various forms of international, national, regional and port-specific shipping requirements for different classes of vessels.

Read Also: How to Start Charcoal Exportation.

The difference between dry bulk, liquid bulk, and breakbulk shipping

There are basically three different ways you can ship cargo. Dry Bulk shipping, Liquid bulk shipping and Break bulk shipments. These three have been around for decades. 

There is a huge difference between all of them. 

We will explain what are the characteristics and differences between all three of them.

The difference between these bulk methods is that liquid bulk transportation and break bulk shipping uses a whole vessel, while dry bulk uses the hold of a ship for transportation.

What is Dry bulk transportation/shipping?

First let’s talk about a dry bulk shipment itself.

What is a Dry Bulk shipment?

In logistics, the phrase “dry bulk” refers to a category of cargo that doesn’t contain oil or liquid products. 

dry bulk shipping
Example of a Dry Bulk Cargo. Carrying raw material shipped in large unpackaged parcels.

A dry bulk commodity is a raw material that is shipped in large unpackaged parcels and unprocessed materials which later go through production and global manufacturing processes.

The above-mentioned and the other types of dry bulk goods are sand, gravel, slag, coal, ore, grains, bauxite and more. 

Dry bulk products are shipped using special types of carriers specifically designed to transport the specific type of goods.

These sorts of commodities are typically inert and non-hazardous. Some examples are:

Iron ore, coal, grain, metals as well as other steels products like coils, plates, rods, etc are materials classified as bulk commodities. 

Dry Bulk Transportation/Shipping.

Dry bulk transportation or shipping refers to the transportation of commodities carried in bulk. Dry bulk transportation is a process of transporting commodities that are relatively loose.

Bulk can vary on the order of particles, ounces, pounds, tons, and even feet. Dry transportation is similar to liquid bulk shipments where they are all in a closed tank.

In other words, dry bulk transportation also refers to the transportation of items that are neither gas, such as crude oil, LPG, etc., or liquid, and can be either solid or granular. 

What a Liquid Bulk shipment?

Liquid bulk is a general term to describe any liquids that are carried in bulk or general containers rather than individual containers. 

liquid bulk
Example of Liquid Bulk for liquid products

They could be described also as any liquid that is not contained in gas form. Bulk liquids are usually liquid products that cannot be transported in the conventional way, unlike powders or granules.

There are only a few liquids that fit into the bulk definition but they do include the most commonly shipped goods by sea today. These liquids include crude oil, molasses, vegetable oils, sludge and some chemicals.

They have to be handled in specially designed bulk carriers. The most common bulk liquid transport mode is by sea, for liquids that can remain stable in water without freezing or spoiling.

They include oil products, alcohols, caustics, solvents and acids.(liquid bulk). It is the process of transporting a large amount of liquid in a large tank, mobile or stationary. 

It can be very expensive to store large tanks on site if there is no room. If you have many bulk liquids you may want to make sure that you are using a company that is rated well and that has a lot of good feedback from other customers. 

If you are trying to figure out how to ship bulk liquids and want to know more about how this is done, it is important that you look for a company that ships bulk liquids.

What is Break Bulk Shipment

In shipping, the term “break bulk” refers to a shipment with no pallet or container. 

Rather, goods are loaded into a vehicle and secured for transport. This type of load is more common with machinery and heavy industrial products like construction equipment. 

breakbulk shipping
Example of Breakbulk, an oversized and overweight product

Break bulk shipments normally mean oversized and overweight products which cannot easily be handled by a normal freight service.

Another way to understand Break Bulk Shipping is that it is the transportation of non-containerized, bulk freight. This is an essential part and parcel of every maritime business. It utilizes the space in a vessel, stored in any number of ways and at a wide range of volumes. BreakBulk shipping is not to be confused with general cargo shipping or project cargo shipping industries.

Read Also: Everything you need to know about Reefer Container

When it comes to shipping, knowing the type of goods that are being shipped and the point in the delivery process to which you want to ship the goods is crucial. 

Goods shipped in containers have become quite common when shipping. These goods arrive at a port, are loaded onto a container vessel and are then transported to another part of the world. 

This saves time compared to other transport methods, such as trucking the goods across land. However, if you need to ship a partial container load or an entire cargo that cannot be fit inside a container, a breakbulk shipment may be required.

One more thing. 

Sending cargo without any protection can be risky. 

Every country has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to carrying goods; some require that shipments travel with customs documents, others require the use of a shipper that is sanctioned by the government. 

By using a company specializing in break-bulk shipping, you protect your goods from theft, damage, and loss.

How break bulk cargo is transported.

The break bulk cargo is transported using vessels of various sizes. The larger vessels are used to carry cargoes in bulk. Containers and gears are also used to transport the break bulk cargoes.

When movements are small and it is not worth using a container, break bulk shipments are used. Break bulk cargo is goods that are loaded piece by piece into a transport (shipping) vessel by crane. 

When the quantity of goods is low, the delivery is made in smaller units to reduce the cost of delivering the cargo. There are various types of break bulk movement for which we offer services at Bowa-Gate Global Ltd.

Wrap Up

As always, our over 20 years of running Freight Shipping and Customs Clearing Business in Nigeria has seen quite a good number of importers and exporters make values. We have helped a lot of them record possible successes in their businesses.

This post is for informational purposes, although we are open for a business discussion with you whenever you are ready or willing to import or export your consignments. Our years of experience in Freight Shipping and Customs Clearing has led our way up above peers and that is why we at Bowa-gate Global Limited have been able to identify what works and what does not in the interest of our growing customer base.

We are willing to take you through a whole new perspective.

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